Elder Trevor Smith will report his mission to the Chile, Concepcion South Mission on:
July 30, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
310 Avenida Vista Montana
San Clemente, CA 92672
Wow last letter that's pretty crazy. I feel like I should be summing up my whole mission in this letter or something but I think that would be impossible so I'm not going to be attempting that at all. Whatever. It's weird because I still feel like this is any normal week!
Last week was good. Pretty rainy but we had a lot of luck the weekend up until last night which was a big miracle. We worked hard! Tuesday we had a district meeting and I shared the Elder Holland talk "High priest of good things to come" and I think everyone liked it. Then we did some practices about helping investigators with their doubts without making them feel like we just want them to get baptized for us. It was a good class I think.
That day we had a gran intercambio with the whole zone and I worked with Elder Ivory from Colorado which was a fun change. I can get around pretty well in our sector despite its huge size and downtownness but I'm still kind of learning how far away everything is from each other and we ended up walking a lot but it was ok. We talked a lot about the mission. It's kind of weird and fun in my last transfer becasue all these missionaries keep asking me for advice and consejo like im some master jedi sage or something and I feel like I'm still learning about how to be a missionary even now hahaha. It was a good day and we had a really good lesson with our investigator Edgardo who Ill talk more about in a bit. We taught an English class giving a tour of the chapel and practising vocab and pronounciation which was fun. We had a good turnout that night despite the rain even with some new people.
Wednesday was pretty normal and I'm struggling to remember anything about it and the rest of the week... We had a lot of lessons that fell this week and a lot of searching around for people but we were happy regardless.
I think the biggest event this week was all with E. He is a middle aged man with a beard and long hair and when we first met him he was pretty gruff and closed off to us and to our teaching. He had some kind of really debilitating viral disease like 2 years ago that left him totally paralysed and now he has recovered a lot of his ability and can walk and live pretty independently considering he was totally imobile neck down two years ago. He mostly started listening to us because he had nothing else to do but as the lessons have gone on and as we have answered his doubts he has softened up a lot. Still hasnt been able to come to church. The thing is that last week he went to teh doctor for a lump and they detected possible cancer. His parents and two of his brothers died of cancer in their late 50s. Last week we taught the plan of salvation and it obviously couldnt be better timed. He still wasnt sure what kind of tumor it is and supposedly had testing in valdivia yesterday and today he was going to call us with the news. After the lesson about hte plan of salvation and the atonement, spirit world, and resurrection he was pretty emotional. We gave him a blession of health and after that he was pretty much totally in tears because of all the unsurety of his future after he had just started to get better from his last ailment. It was all kind of really heartbreaking to see this formerly gruff guy be totally broken down at the end of the visit. As we left we told him we knew that everything would be ok and that we loved him and he said the same to us.
It was so hard to walk out of that door that day. I dont know what will happen to E. nor if he will live or not but what I did feel very strongly that lesson and that day afterwards is that regardless of the suffering and trials he has in this life that it will all work out in the end and be worth it in the end. If he accepts the gospel in this life or the next or not really ever at all he will still one day have a perfect resurrected body and be free of that bondage that he has now.
Im not sure if tragedy has been a theme of my mission or if its a theme of all missions or just of our lives in themselves but I feel like Ive learned a lot about it these two years. What I do know is that all we go through in this life would all be so arbitrary and hopeless if it werent for what Christ will make of us through His Atonement after this life. In the context of teh Plan of Salvation suffering and death changes from being "the end" to kind of a means to a really good "end" that we learned about and hoped for and chose in the pre earth life. Ive said this before but I think thats why Christ repeats so many times in the scriptures that we shouldnt fear or be sad, because despite sufferring all we suffer He knew ,like elder Holland says, that it would all work out in the end. I can say that that is very true for the two years of my mission at least.
I dont feel like its been two years. Ive loved every minute of it and learned so much like I said last week. I wouldnt trade it for anything. Im mostly trying now to maintain a really positive attitude about going home and new challenges and new life etc and Im sure it will all be fine. Im going to try and enjoy this week as much as I can and look forward to good stuff in the future too. I love the gospel so much and know its true.
Thanks for all the emails this whole time and the prayers and support. Excited to talk more and see you all in a few weeks!
Love you all!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok hey everyone.
First up congrats Christian Smith for the graduation stuff! Also happy fathers day dad!
This week went fast and slow at the same time. The good thing is that we were pretty busy.
First half of the week was pretty uneventful which was nice kind of. We didnt have district meetings until thursday so tuesday was just a really normal day. We ate a really good lunch which is always nice. I cant remember very well but I think we spent the most of that day working with the stand in front of the church with some success. thats seriously my favorite activity right now. Wednesday was pretty similar but we also met with a new investigator we found that way who seemed pretty interested. He had a lot of crazy ideas about God and religion etc but he also listened well and wants to hear more so we will see how that goes. That was cool to see some fruits as far as the stand goes. I think wednesday we also had mission coorelation meeting with our new ward mission leader who is really cool! He got called last week. Only bummer is that he is a student and going home for winter break for a month after two more weeks of school (well i guess its a bummer for elder ritter that is oops). Tuesday and wednesday were just really normal mission days.
Thursday we had district meetings which turned out great. The ZLs wanted both districts to have lessons about weekly and daily planning and I think I mentioned my bad attitude and ability in that field last week so I passed the assignment of giving the class to the really eager and helpful training hnas and they did a way better job than I could have hahahaha. One really cool thing they did was have the district just list all the different things we can do to use our time wisely and have a good use of time planned for every hour of the day and we got a ton of stuff up on the board. I think ive mentioned in the past that time use is a huge trial at least in our mission, so it was a big relief to have a bunch of new ways to keep ourselves busy these next two weeks. After their part I taught about giving the first lesson and we practised that and it was good.
Friday was a big day too becuase we had a multi zone conference between four zones here in the south. I got to see a lot of friends which is fun, especially elder aravena who came from victoria. It was all really good training that they gave that day, and I could apply a lot to my next two weeks and beyond. Our zone got together a really good musical number which was fun. It was honestly kind of sad to just get a huge animo boost about how cool the mission is in my circumstances hahahaah I talked to some other last transfer people and they felt the same way. Just another reminder of how awesome the mission is. Its tradition in our mission at least that the people who are finishing give their testimonies at the end of the zone conference. There are like 6 killer hnas who finish with me in the south and elder aravena, and I went last. I pretty much never cry during that stuff or during lessons or anything, but that testimony meeting was pretty rough and the worst part was going last after everyone esles killer testimonies. I feel like every time I have to bear my testimony in front of people i know what I want to say but it turns out way different. I felt good about it though.
The rest of that day we had planned an intercambio with vilcun again so I could go meet this family theyre teaching. Oh yeah i forgot to mention that from like thursday till sunday afternoon we had just TORRENTIAl rain it was crazy. Definitely the worst rain ive seen in my mission. I mean this fall and winter so far there have been rainy days ya but this was the first time it was more than 2 days consecutively and that makes it way more annoying because its hard to get stuff dry again like your bag and stuff. Whatever. For whatever reason temuco has really bad drainage and the main streets turne into total rivers it was crazy. Like knee deep all the way across it was wacky.
Anyway elder Vargas from Chile (no relation to the chilean selection player vamos chile al ganar) and I fought through the floods to the bus station to go to vilcun and it was just as bad their but freezing cold on top of it all. It got dark at like 530 and a lot of the lights way out there were out too so it was like pitch black raining and freezing and then all of our appointments fell through hahahaha. We started walking around trying to find some former investigators from a list he had. Pretty miserable. The crazy thing is that at 8 o clock on the dot the freezing rain turned immediately into this really beautiful, peaceful, picture perfect snowfall. It was disneyland mainstreet during the holidays stuff (which is pretty much the only comparison Im really capable of making as far as snow goes anyway). It was absolutely crazy, and a one time in the mission thing for sure. Everyone came outside and there just this amazing shared sense of total childlike wonder. It was really special. Im sure theres a good analogy in all this but Ill leave you guys to find it. The flakes were like an inch in diameter! Apparently it snowed in temuco as well but not nearly as much and it didnt stick there at all, but in vilcun we woke up to a two inch blanket of snow over everything (and to another poweroutage at 730am wow Im so glad thats not my sector). Pretty amazing tender mercy.
Saturday was pretty normal as well. We tried to go to meet an investigator of the hnas but it all fell through but whatever. It kept raining all that day but broke up during the real working ours when we were outside which was nice. Wait actually now I remember we had a capilla abierta activity in the Nielol ward which was pretty fun and turned out well i think. The thing thats kind of unfair about those things here though ist hat the hnas just stay in the warm church and give tours while the elders have to go out in the cold and try and bring people in hahahaha jk its fair I guess. I worked with elder camp that day which was fun. We got back to Caupo at like 730 and visited some less active members who gave us like a sugar feast for some reason of like hot coco and every chilean candy imaginabel and we didnt want to be ungreatful so we ate a lot. We were kind of rough in the stomach after that so we figured some completos caseros would top us off well so we cooked some up at home with the house comps. Fun night.
Sunday was good. No investigators of ours unfortunately but one less active student we invited and a friend of a member luckily. seems to happen a lot here. It cleared up after lunch which was a big blessing. We had picarones for desert after lunch which is a chilean dessert classic and very delicious. We spend a lot of sunday looking nfor a bunch of references that the sector had recieved here in the past but no luck. We worked hard this week and were pretty beat last night. A good feeling.
Today was zone activity with volleyball and soccer which was fun. Cant believe just one more pday. Got to make it good.
Going back to the zone conference I think the whole thing was pretty retro and introspective for me. I shared in my testimony that preparing for a mission before I was sure I was going to see a lot of people around me´s lives change, and that definitely came to pass. I said what I didnt expect was that my own life would change so much from my own service as a missionary. I think its summed up really well in Alma 5:7-97 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened themout of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, theywere in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their soulswere illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea,they were encircled about by the bands of death, and thechains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did awaitthem.
8 And now I ask of you, my brethren, were theydestroyed? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, they were not.
9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and thechains of hell which encircled them about, were theyloosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and theirsouls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And Isay unto you that they are saved.
Im not trying to say I think that I was surrounded by "the bounds of death" more than anyone else hahaha. Im trying to say that I had always read that verse as Christ changing the hearts of the investigators and other people we serve (and like I said that surely happens), but that its equally if not more valid to say that Christ changes the missionaries hearts; that throughout two years Christ is waking us up from a profound sleep to a bright reality of a life lived in the Gospel. Ive seen so many missionaries be changed by their service, and I told all the missionaries there that I consider the greatest fruit of my mission to be the change that has occurred in my own life.
And for that I guess with as hard as it is to be finishing so soon, a mission wouldnt fulfil its full purpose without a better life after as a result of a mission. That would be like going to the mtc and then home or something like that. I keep repeating that I mostly feel greatful and its true.
Well this is pretty weird right now but good I think. Thanks for all your emails even so late in the game. I cant wait to see you all. Im doing good and squeezing out everything I can from this. Love you all!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok this week went crazy fast I'll l try and describe it well.
Tuesday was meetings as usual. My class didn't turn out quite how I wanted but good enough. I gave it on revelation and problem solving in the mission and we talked a lot about classic "search ponder and pray" stuff. I really like in DC 8(?) it talks about how revelation was the power by which Moses crossed the red sea which is cool. We talked about how all problems we face as missionaries (or people in general) should have solutions in the scriptures and through prayer. I tried to help them view the process more as work than as just God showing us the way. Then we had some good practice of teaching revelation through prayer to our investigators and hopefully that helped something. I like to teach so that's fun. Everyone seemed kind of tired but whatever I understand hahaha.
After that the day was pretty normal. We had a hard time making contact with our investigators this week because of some really big university charity collections they were working in but whatever. Because of that we spent a lot of the week looking for people and trying to come up with new ways to do that.
The weather was actually really good this week. Not that cold and not that rainy, mostly just a little sprinkle all the time which is annoying but way better than the normal pouring rain.
Wednesday we went all the way to a little pueblo called Lautauro to do an intercambio with the elders from there. Me and elder Chico from Mexico traveled back to Temuco and worked in Caupulican as usual. I was proud of myself for being able to navegate already in the middle of downtown after only 3 weeks. The trip back and forth from lautauro was really beautiful with lots of hills and valleys covered in fall leaf colors. It's still pretty fall here which is good. Elder Chico is really good and chill. Doesn't talk too much but is really level headed and happy to be here in the mission so that's awesome. We had a good time and I learned from him. The bummer was that pretty much all our appointments fell so we walked a lot that day but he was a really good sport. We did finally connect with a former investigator who lives with a less active family like 20 meters from the church so that was good but we were pretty tired by that time so I hope the lesson was well recieved.
For scheduling challenges the next day we did another intercambio with the zone leaders and I worked with Elder Camp in Quirihue. It was a fun day. It is a really really hilly sector and for the first time I realized how grateful I should be for having 100% really flat sectors my entire mission! (except for the one massive hill in Lebu but that makes literally one hill in my entire mission). We found a cool new family who we taught for the first time which is always kind of stressfull but we felt good about it in the end. Elder Camp is awesome and a great friend.
Friday started out with weekly planning. Ok look I don't complain much in my letters or in general but planning to me has become almost unbearable I don't know why. I don't know why every planning session whether it be daily or weekly just seems like an eternity to me hahahaha. Whatever. We powered through it and actually got some good ideas and stuff jotted down. One we actualy applied that day and it worked out great. Like I've mentioned our chapel is right in the middle of one of the most downtown parts of Temuco and tons of students are always there walking back and forth in the afternoon. We grabbed one of the banners we use for chapel open doors activities that's about the book of mormon and set up a little stand in the gate door right on the sidewalk of the church and put up a sign that said "gratis" hahahaha. To our surprise actually a ton of people came up to us and talked to us about the BoM and quite a few took one. We discovered that it was actually a way more effective way to find interested people than other stuff we had been doing and for like half the effort because we just had to sit there and people came and talked to us hahahaha it was awesome. It was also refreshing to only talk with people genuinly interested in the message and not just everyone in the street or behind a door or angry less active members. Fun thing to do. I was really relieved because now I feel like we have a good way to kill the rest of our dead time between lessons (that we usually do in the church anyway) in a productive way.
Saturday we did an open chapel as a zone in quirihue that turned out kind of mah o menoh. I got assigned the easy job of making the people fill out a "comments" sheet before they left that is more of a sneaky way to get their information to visit them than anything hahaha. Only like 10ish people came in the entire 3 1/2 hours so it was pretty easy. After that we put up a bunch of english posters. Speaking of english people now llike 7-8 non members are coming each class!
Saturday we ate lunch with some members (who I will not name) and they served us this plate of spaghetti with salsa blanca that was really delicious. Only bummer is that I almost didnt make it to the bathroom that night but my poor comp got hit harder. He woke up at like 3am sunday morning with all the symptoms of food poisoning the poor guy. He rallied enough to go to church and we actually stayed all three hours which was really good because two students wandered into sacrament meeting out of nowhere and were really interested in the church so we were able to be with them for all the classes and we have a lesson with them tomorrow. My comp was really bad though and luckily the hna we had lunch with brought it to the chapel for us to take home so he got home and crashed for the rest of the day and last night but woke up today feeling 100% so that's good. I took like a 2 hour nap which was fun but then had the rest of the day to slowly go insane doing nothing but watching the district hahaha any missionary who has been home with a sick comp knows what Im talking about.
That's kind of it. This week went by fast! Its so strange that I feel so normal about this week and this lifestyle when so soon I will have a crazy fast adjustment to make. I just feel like it was any other week of my misison. Even this far in one still lives in the bizare paradox of being totally exhausted, bored, and constantly working while simultaneaously feeling mosly contentment and a kind of passive happiness with life. I guess that is probably what the Lord refers to about finding our lives after losing them.
As far as spiritual thoughts go, I mostly felt impressed this week about centering our lives on Christ. That is one blessing of the mission; its much easier to do out here. It's amazing that as soon as we fulfill part of our baptismal covenants during the week (through remembering Him or maybe serving someone else) the peace He repeatedly promised His Apostles that He would leave can be felt. I love John 17:3 (?) that says that eternal life is knowing Christ and His Father. Together with Moses 1:39 we can learn that the Godhead's entire work and glory is our eternal life, or substituting what it says in John, their entire purpose is to help us know Them better. Its easy to run with that principle to answer a lot of questions we have about this life and its purpose, trials, and complexities; all we go through in this life is in part so that we can comprehend our Father in Heaven. Obviously a mission is kind of a period of our lives where that purpose and the means that help us achieve it are kind of magnified or intensified by the demanding nature of our lifestyle, our closeness to the spirit, and the pureness of our work that is so often responded to by rejection by others etc. Im sure parenting and the rest of lifes experiences (especially when coupled with service in the church) have a similar effect. Well I'm kind of rambling now but my point is that its no wonder one grows and changes so much serving a mission.
Ok wow it's getting closer every day. Like I've said before I think I've gone through every emotion by now about ending and mostly I'm just grateful. I love you all and love hearning from you and can't wait to see you!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok it was a good week 2 here in Temucoland.
The weather changed and it got a lot less cold but a lot rainier booo. I prefer cold. It worked out fine though and wasn’t that bad. The good thing is that our house is really warm so that’s a huge blessing. I finally got over my cold for the most part today and yesterday so that’s good.
Beginning of the week was pretty average but good. Tuesday we had district meetings and I think my class turned out well. The spirit was there and people participated and that’s the most important. My district has a lot of desires to learn so that makes it really good. Its fun to be able to try and pass on all I’ve learned here. After that we played some games with the zone and it was really fun the missionaries here are really funny.
That day we ate a really delicious lunch with some good members and had a pretty good day after that. I think I mentioned last week Mari the student we are teaching. We didn’t have a lot of contact with her this week but we taught her friend Joana on Tuesday and she is really awesome. Pretty much the same situation as Mari, that after working as a social worker she has a lot of questions about God etc. She pretty much has no religious background, which is rare for Chile and makes it fun to teach her. She had so much true intent it was crazy. She mentioned that she really appreciates the values and morality of religion (obviously as a social worker) and really desires to find out if God is really there and if those morals are really backed up by eternal truth etc. We had a good lesson about the nature of God and the blessings of the gospel but the icing on the cake was at the end. We talked about prayer and revelation and she accepted asking God immediately, which is rare for Chile. We talked a lot about faith and recognizing the spirit and at the end we invited her to pray and she said yes. Her prayer was so sincere and humble and desirous that as soon as she started the room was filled with the Holy Ghost. It was really a special moment. We asked her after how she felt and she said she felt something new but something good and we about lost our minds but kept it cool and told her it was the Spirit. She is awesome. Only bummer is that she canceled our lesson later in the week and didn’t make it to church but she could still potentially get baptized before I’m out of here. It was really something.
No contact really with the Venezuelan family either. A couple phone calls but it sounds like they are really busy. Looks like we will have a lesson tomorrow with them.
The rest of the week was pretty boring honestly. We worked hard though. A lot of English class publicity and looking for former investigators and less active members. Very little door touching which is always good. I’m hoping we can keep busy enough to keep that up until the end of the transfer. Our English classes are pretty good but need to grow more.
We did an intercambio with the APs in the southern half of the mission because they’re in my district. I think I mentioned that one is elder Willey who is a really good friend of mine from way back in Lebu. We worked together in his sector on Friday and Saturday morning but it was raining really hard that day. We still had a good time catching up and talking about the mission etc. I think I could help him a little. He and his comp have a lot of stress on them so I try and help them manage that a little and be happy.
Dang I’m struggling to remember this week. Sorry it was kind of uneventful
Elder Ritter is a good cook, not sure if I mentioned. He made some really delicious no bake cookies and some other stuff. We have a good time in our house. Elder Huerta has a Chilean version of farkle, which is pretty fun at night. Pretty often the members here give us food to eat in our own house because the husbands are working which leaves some pretty awesome nap opportunities after lunch that is the best.
Fast and testimony meetings in Chile are always really good actually. They are really good at sharing what they believe and there is usually no uncomfortable silence. Actually almost always there are one or two people on deck waiting.
I really like Temuco. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t get to spend more time here but its a good way to go out. The Mapuche presence is really strong here so it’s a pretty cool mixture of cultures with that and the German influence too. It really is a pretty big city too, at least for our mission, which is mostly just pueblitos. Its funny too because even here in certain areas the campecino (farmer) influence totally gets in and there are people selling chickens and sheep and produce etc. like in the middle of downtown which is funny hahaha. The architecture is really pretty here too.
Well sorry about a boring email. I guess I can mention what my class was on. I focused it on talking about how the best missionaries I have known here haven’t been those who come to the mission with the best abilities or the smartest or the strongest or anything like that, but rather the best missionaries are those who know how to best involve divine power and grace in their missions. It has a lot to do with the humility (Helaman 3:35 being strong in their humility). I’ve totally felt that in my mission; my peaks have always been when I’ve need and received the most divine help from God. I think the district liked it. I especially love the story of Enoch in the book of Moses and I identify a lot with his story. Most of the prophets have a similar one too. I love how the Lord tells him to "walk with him" and later Enocs "eyes are opened" and he becomes the great prophet he is known for being. I have loved seeing at least a little bit of that process inn myself and especially in other missionaries I’ve come to know
Alright that’s about all I got. I got the packages thanks! San Clemente cookie dough is delicious hahaha and everything else too. I love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
It was a crazy week with cambios obviously. Some really nice members in LA did a little FHE goodbye for me and Hna Salles who was also leaving the ward. It was fun and it's always hard to say goodbye here. They were really nice and I had mentioned a long time ago that I wanted to learn French or something so they gave me a scripture set in French. Really nice. After that it was pure packing but I have a lot of practice now so I got it done in like an hour and this time didn't forget anything!
Tuesday was the transfers. The ride between LA and Temuco has always been really pretty and you can see pretty much all the volcanoes in our mission in one trip which is cool. Hna Salles was also going south so we took the bus together. It stopped in Victoria and I got to say hi to Elder Aravena again and that was fun. Getting to Temuco has brought back a lot of really faint memories of coming here from Cunco etc. I actually worked here in my current sector one day when me and Elder Cederstrom were headed north to pick up our trainees in the office. The only difference now is that it is just so so so cold. I wear like 10 layers every day hahaha. Here the cold is different because it's really wet. Apparently this week was colder than usual and it will get a little warmer (but rainier) this week. Honestly I prefer the cold over the rain. The good news is that we live in a really nice apartment with the zone leaders that is waaay warmer than my last house in LA so that's awesome. Elder Camp and Huerta are long time beginning of the mission friends too so it's been cool to live and work with them.
Elder Ritter is really awesome. He's from Virginia like I said and is a great missionary. We have a lot in common which is fun. He knows the sector really well and the ward too so thats really great. We've gotten along great and have had a ton of fun together working. Caupulican is a totally different sector from anything I've ever had before which is a fun change. It's really only the downtown of Temuco which is really big and busy so it's pretty exciting usually. Not a lot of doors to knock and I'm honestly fine with that. Lots of universities which is funny. Tons of restaurants and apartment buildings and tons and tons of people and traffic. It's been a really cool change from the normal tranquilo of the rest of my mission. Lots of people to talk to. I love it here!
The ward is pretty small (like 60) but everyone who is there is really active and works really hard in their callings etc so that is awesome. Bishop Jara is great.
Tuesday we got to the house and did a little unpacking and got to know each other and after lunch we were on the street which was fun. That night we had a total miracle because one of the counselors in the stake presidency had invited this really cool family of immigrants from Venezuela and we had a really good FHE. They had never heard much about the church and had become kind of disillusioned with the catholic church and were really receptive to the lesson we gave them about eternal families and restored truths. They are really nice and seem pretty interested. That was totally awesome. It was a good week to show up to the sector.
Wednesday was good too. Finished unpacking which was nice. More getting to know the sector and getting around. We had a really good lesson with a 26 year old student in the chapel who had contacted the missionaries a few weeks ago and gone to church. Her name is M. and shes studying social work and after seeing some kind of ugly stuff in her practice she says she is looking to see if God is there and if she can reach out to them. We talked about prayer and the spirit and invited her to ask God if He really is there. Also seems really receptive so that's awesome. It's always fun to teach students because they are more used to learning and pick everything up really fast and are always looking for fulfillment in life etc. Reminds me a lot of N. from Lagunillas. That night I had a baptismal interview for P. an investigator of the sister trainers here. He was awesome and passed no problem. That pretty much was our whole day.
Thursday was our first district meeting! We started out with a leadership meeting and it was really weird and fun to not be in charge hahahaha! My district is really big. Im in charge of 5 other companionships, including the APs of the south side of the mission which is Elder Willey a long time friend. I gave a lesson on personal conversion and how to find true motivation in the mission and I think they liked it. I was pretty happy with how and turned out and it was fun to try and pass on what Ive learned to younger missionaries. My district has some really good missionaries in it so its going to be really fun. I had a good time serving and talking to them this week.
That day I went to Vilcun, a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere on the way to the cordillera. Its really small and pretty much just farmers haha. I worked with elder Araya from Santiago. Hes really cool and a recent convert from like 4 years ago. A really caring and dedicated guy. We had a good time working there and actually taught a lot of lessons. They have a lot of investigators which is cool. Vilcun isnt even a branch yet, its only an extention of another ward here in temuco. They have like 10 people who congregate in a little house there. Its a big challenge to be there but the missionaries there have a really good attitude about it. I remember feeling so alone in cunco but they seem pretty happy. The next morning it was so cold a tiny little bit of snow was falling. I got sick that day though. Im still getting over a cold I caught. Everyone tells me here that its from leaving a warm house and going into the cold right away but Im not sure about the medical validity of that idea. Whatever. Im finally getting better now though.
Friday was kind of busy as well because first we had a scheduled baptismal interview for the other hnas in my district but when we got there it fell through until saturday morning so that took up a little time but it happens sometimes. This week happened to be our ward conference which was awesome. We had a ward talent show that night which was really fun. A lot of less active members came which was cool. They asked us to do something so we played a song on guitar and sang but we were first and it looks like they kind of used us for the sound balancing hahaha so it was hard to here us. Plus from my cold I was already kind of losing my voice and after that it was totally gone. After that it was too late so we had to go home early.
Saturday we did the actual interview and Sebastian who is 9 passed. His family was reactivated by the sister missionaries. Him and Pablo got baptized that day but we couldnt go because the stake had also organized a big Open Doors activity in our chapel which is right down town so me and elder Ritter were in charge of making that happen in coordination with the bishop and like halft the zone. It pretty much took up the whole day and was fun but i think because of the cold there werent that many people in the street and not that many people came in but enough did. We mostly got references for other sectors here in temuco but it was still a success. We were pretty exhausted that night after that.
Sunday was ward conference so everyone in the ward was really on point. The venezuelan couple came and it seems liked they really liked it but when we tried to set another appointment they said they were going to be kind of busy this week (nooo) but i think we will get in contact with them later this week.
Wow. I think this transfer was really inspired. Any feelings of tiredness or boredom I had in LA are pretty much gone now. A lot of that has to do with elder Ritter. Im so greatful to be here and I think Ill be able to finish better than ever. This week flew by and it was scary. Its mostly good to be busy. I was so happy this week. Sometimes being a missionary is just bliss.
This life is a privelege. Mortality is a joy. I think on my mission The Lord has really taught me that whosoever loses his life really does find it. Ive been really stuck on Heleman 3:35 this week. I love the imagery of the last phrase that in spanish is "entregar nuestro corazon a Dios", or "turn over our heart to God". I think there is a lot of symbolism in that image and that it can mean a lot of different things. THe heart can represent our will or our desires. I think it has to do with what dad read in that one little book about sacrificing our "stories" or our plans for our own lives for what God wants. Thats pretty much a mission in few words. Im just really greatful for what God has done with me.
Ok doing great here and I love you all! I hope youre all well!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok hello all!
First up is the blessed transfer news: I'm off to Temuco! I'll be in a ward called Caupulican which is well known in this mission for being the most downtown ward there is. It's like literally right in the middle of Temuco and supposedly is kind of tough because there are few houses and a lot of un-enterable apartments but it will be a fun change and challenge. I do worry I may have gone out of the fryingpan and into the fire a little bit as far as sectors go buuuut it's only 6 weeks so Ill make it. The first transfer in any sector always goes really fast so it will be fun. Lots of university students supposedly. My comp will be Elder Ritter from Virginia who I don't really know but he is always directing the music in various mission activities so I think he will be a good singer and we will be able to do some fun music stuff. I always wanted a really musical comp. I think he has a little less than a year in the mission which is cool. I hear he is really nice and funny.
I'll be a district leader too which will be a really fun change and I will be able to really pass all of my learning on to a lot of missionaries before the sword of justice descends upon me as in the words of Alma the younger. I was only a district leader 5 weeks and a year ago so it will be cool to get another shot at that. Honestly now with a lot of changes in the mission they pretty much do more than the ZLs and have a lot more one on one contact with the missionaries so that will be cool. I won't be completely in charge of or responsable for things for the first time in a year! Honestly though I really loved my time as a ZL and learned so much from it. I really did love to serve in that way and loved all the missionaries I got to meet that way. I'm just glad everything in the mission gets done in exact accordance with God's will.
I think we will be living with the ZLs there who are Elders Huerta and Camp who are good friends of mine so that will be really cool. I'm really stoked and really greatful for this! It will be very cold there though. Temuco is cool though.
This week went by really really fast. We started out pretty normal with a good day Tuesday in our sector and some good last meetings too. Wednesday I worked with Elder Lighthall in Las Americas. Hes the one from Irvine It was really fun and we got a lot done. They are always really busy there with lessons and stuff so its really fun to work there. It has kind of a Boca Sur flavor as well which gives me good memories. Elder Lighthall is awesome and has grown a lot. One notable thing that happened is that the hnas from that sector called us to go and quickly give a blessing to an investigator's really disabled son who went suddenly into convulsions during their lesson. It was raining and dark and we ran over there just as the ambulance was getting there and the paramedics were doing their job so we didn't get to give him the blessing there but I'm pretty sure the hnas sent the missionaries close to the hospital over to the ER or something like that. The whole thing was kind of weird to just be witnessing. It was all so sad and I couldn't help but think about how so much hardship and tragedy without the refining power of the gospel in our lives really disolves into thin air compared to suffering with the perspective and peace the Gospel gives. It's hard to explain I guess. I think that without the gospel all of that sadness just seems pointless and cruel.
The night ended well with our English class and delivery tacos which were delicious. Elder Lighthall's a great friend by now.
Thursday was another intercambio with Mulchen because their district leader didn't have the time to do one with them in these last three weeks or something. I went to Mulchen with Elder Duke who's in his 3rd transfer. Best thing ever is that they are one of the few houses of Elders that has a real oven and the real miracle is that the night before they had baked real chocolate chip cookies wow. So delicious. It was so so so cold that day there though. It gets dark really quick here now too. Elder Duke is really cool. He doesn't have the best Spanish but he really shows a lot of really good other abilities like planning and obedience so it was cool to see how well he was trained by Elder Howes in our zone. Mulchen is really beautiful too because it's in between two different rivers.
Friday we had a zone attack in Las Americas so we all participated in that together as a zone. I was with Elder Cullotta who had to do a baptismal interview for an invetigator there so we spent the majority of the time doing that. It is always cool to see the zone get together and work together. Elder Culotta is one of my best friends here by now too.
Saturday was good but I was getting pretty anxious about the transfer news due that night, it being my last transfer etc. It wasn't dissapointing though I'm stoked about that.
Sunday I had to give a talk again. The ward had literally just gotten home from a big temple trip so I took the opportunity to talk on eternal families and I think it went well. It was cool to see a lot of members and especially some recent converts come back. I also mentioned my transfer which surprised everyone because they thought I was going to finish in their ward hahaha. It's always kind of sad to say goodbye. Thats one thing I'm super tired of about the mission. Chileans are just hard to say goodbye to. I.\'m not sure why. Especially this ward.
Shoot not sure what else to say. Im really grateful for this transfer mostly. I'm excited for a fresh start and new faces and turf and I think it will really get and keep me excited and working hard.
As far as spiritual thoughts go for this week I'm not sure. There have been a lot. I think sometimes I get kind of overwhelmed by the eternity of God's plan for me. Maybe it happens to you too? I think about how He knows me and His plans for my future and the many things He has blessed me with in the past and it just gets overwhelming. People keep asking how I feel about going into my last transfer and I think in the past I would have had a lot of conflicting answers but now all I can think of saying is "greatful". For all of it honestly. The good and the bad of my mission. For what I've learned and especially for how I've changed for the better. Sometimes I feel like the mission is a great analogy for a lifetime, and I think that if I could live my life like I lived my mission and grow old with the same feeling of peace and gratitude and fulfillment I have now, that would be just perfect.
A scripture keeps coming to mind. I think it might be revelation. I keep thinking about the parable of the talents and when the landowner says to the faithful servants that they have been faithful over little and that he will put them over much (sorry I can only think of it in spanish not sure how it goes in English...). What a comforting principle for the eternities of our existence. It was always my goal to be able to finish my mission and be able to say I gave it all and even though Im not done yet I feel like I'm on track to really be able to say that with integrity before God. I think my understanding of that type of consecration has really improved too, in the the context of a better understanding of God's mercy. I think if there is one lesson I learned this transfer its that God really is merciful.
Not sure if this letter has made anything of sense sorry. I really love you guys all a lot and your letters too. Macy looks beautiful dancing too. I hope you're all doing great! I'm doing awesome here!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok another kind of uneventful week -- sorry! I'll try my best! Obviously the highlight was talking to all you guys. Wedding stuff looks really fun. I'm sure it went great.
The week started out with the same ol same ol but this time the APs came down from Conce for the district meetings and to do divisions with us that day. Elder Quintero and Elder Haymore are friends from my very first transfers in the mission so we know each other really well and it was fun. They have a car and we have a driveway in our house but the Elders before us had lost the key to the padlock to the gate of the driveway so we had to spend like 40 minutes breaking it off to be able to lock up the car while we were working that day so that was a hassle but kind of fun to pretend like we were robbers jk. Elder Quintero worked with Elder Gordillo and was previously in San Martin so he was able to help us meet some people he new and we found a cool part member family that way. Elder Haymore is pure amor so it's always really cool to work with him and learn from him. It was productive. We had a good time talking about our early missions etc and a lot of missionary friends who have gone home now.
Wednesday I'm kind of struggling to remember but I think we found another part member family that supposedly the mom was really unreceptive and cold but when we went over she was super nice and receptive. She had a lot of Catholic images on the walls but we are going step by step and I think she already knows she needs to change. Ingles class was fun that night and we had a good group of students that time. Oh yeah we ate a lunch that was just totally over the top. The member who had us over works in sea food importing and exporting between here and the states so he and his family had cooked like 20 pounds of swordfish and kept making us eat more and more but it was so delicious. I think I probably ate like 5 pounds of swordfish. This ward is awesome. Another lunch highlight of this week was one member's birthday so she cooked us bistec al pobre with rice and sausages and french fries and pork. What. Then at the end it was ice cream sundaes with oreo. My heart will never recover but it was so good....
Thursday was fun because I went to Nacimiento with Elder Burrows who I really love being with at this point. He has grown and learned so much in just two combos it's crazy. He has a really good heart and that counts for a lot. Nacimiento is pretty cool because it's a full on ward even though it's a smallish pueblo so we took the opportunity to do a little cleaning of the ward lists and found some cool less active and part member families. Elder Burrows is a really smart guy so we had some fun conversations about Spanish and music etc. It was really cold that night though. Funnily enough like 3 months ago his family had asked him what he missed from the states to be able to send it in his birthday package. At that time it was still boilingly hot so he said he missed 7/11 slushies. They actually found some freezer official Icee deals to send and have him freeze here so even though it was really cold we went ahead and ate one each anyway which was funny but totally worth it and sooo delicious.
Friday was pretty boring as well honestly. We did a lot of walking and looking for former investigators from the area book with a little luck. For whatever reason English class that night was pretty empty. Fridays are usually a little rougher in that sense.
Saturday was fun because we talked! I mostly couldn't get that out of my head honestly before or after. It also rained super hard from Thursday until Sunday morning so that was crazy. We taught one of my favorite less active families who is coming back and had some serious breakthroughs with them and they came to all three hours of church on Sunday and said they actually really like it.
Sunday was awesome. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day. Our church meetings were so good this time. This ward knows what it's doing as far as that goes. Every hour was killer. We left feeling really good. We ate lunch with the Bishop Troncoso who I love and then got over to some members' house so Elder Gordillo could skype his family. We had some seriuos technical difficulty so it took a while to get started but we finally got it done and he liked it a lot I think. After that we were supposed to have a FHE with an active family and their less active invites but the invites didn't show up. We still had a good time. Actually it was with Christian Carrasco who was my gospel principles teacher in Villa Ohiggins back when he was single and now he is the Elders Quorom president here and married to a super cool Argentinian member who served in the same mission as him. They are both really humble and spiritual and mostly really really funny so we had a great time.
Today was another highlight. I don't think I've mentioned brother Angel Cruz here but he is a convert from like 10 years ago who is now the high priest group leader of the ward and is just totally awesome. He and his wife had recently finished a 3 year part time service mission in Santa Barbara (chile). They both have been in charge of the ward temple trip this weekend in which like 65 members are going with like 7 recent converts. Supposedly they have like 250 names to do work for which comes out to a total of like 750 ordinances or something crazy like that. It's crazy how big a difference one person who magnifies their calling can make. Anyway today he and his wife took us and the Hnas from our ward and the one over to Alto Bio Bio, or a few towns east of LA in the cordillera and it was totally beautiful and one of the coolest field trips I've had in the mission. It was so fun. Nature for us is the closest thing we get to a temple trip in two years here. I really do leave visits to nature feeling renovated spiritually.
One fun thing was a museum way up ther about the native tribe here the Pehuenches. Really cool actually. Lots of crazy connections between their culture and religion and legends to gospel stuff like the BoM and Bible etc. A Noah's flood story and pretty much an exact quote to Zenos saying we need to pray over our flocks and fields and friends and enemies etc. The craziest thing was that they had a big list of traditional last names of the tribe and one of them was "Levi". Yep. Straight up Levi. How crazy is that.
In sacrament meeting a bunch of thoughts and scriptures came to my mind about the last two months here. I haven't had time to organize them all but it was mostly all about why the Lord gives us weakness and challenges. Some scriptures I'll put here and you all can look for the connections with me. Heleman 3:5 Ether 12:27 Moroni 7:48 2 Nephi 2:25 and a few more I can't remember right now. I think it's important to analyze the challenges we overcome to be sure that we have learned the lesson God wants us to have learned. Just a quick spiritual introspection after weve conquered some big trial to see what God has taught us; what He has made of us. It also helps us to see the "end" that justifies the sometimes painfull "means" of the events of our lives. At least for me it's provided some good perspective and even gratitude for trials I've had recently. This existence is full of a lot of "means" and "ends" in our lives.
Ok I loved talking to you all! I love you all and hope youre doing great!
Elder Trevor Smith
Wow this week went really fast and slow at the same time! Sometimes I feel like time on the mission gets really weirdly disthorted, especially now towards the end. I'm struggling to remember stuff but here we go.
We started the week with a district meeting that was really good. We talked about member work and it was good. We left right away and wrote home as you know. I think that day we had correlation with our new WML and it was pretty good but we still have a way to go.
Wednesday we went to Conce for the Leadership council which was pretty cool. I don't know if I'm just a bad listener but it's starting to seem like the same thing every time to me now hahaha it was still really spiritual and good. Our zone was the only that completed its baptism goal in April so they gave us a tupperware of homemade cookies for the zone and sang a song for us which was fun. We got a lot of praise from everyone because we were also the highest baptizing zone but I honestly feel like I've tried less hard and been less good at my assignment then in the past so it was weird that we had more success hahaah. I guess it goes to show that it's all up to every individual companionship really. The cookies were good anyway. The coolest talk was about planning lessons that Elder Willey and his comp (the aps) gave. It was actually kind of cool because I had given a training on that to consejo like 9 months ago and Elder Willey remembered and gave me a shoutout for the idea which was really nice. I got to see a lot of old friends like Elde Molina and Aravena etc and we took a nap on the bus ride home and then taught an English class that night.
Thursday we did a gran intercambio and I worked in Villa Esmeralda which is a ton like VIlla OHiggins my first sector. I worked with Elder Figallo who is from Peru and really a killer missionary for how much time he has here. We got to teach two lessons which was fun. My cold from the week before kind of came back with a vengance from then on which was a bummer but I could work every day. It was a good time amd fun to get to know a zone memeber better.
Friday we had interviews with pres and a little practice time with the zone too which was fun. The zone is really awesome and participates a ton and it makes things really edifying and spiritual. That day we had a super miracle with a family that we had been working with who are members. They invited us to a FHE with a part member family and it went really well. The kids were SO crazy though it was ridiculous. I think we got a good message in though.
Saturday was a really boring day but the good thing was a couple lessons we had, one with a young unmarried couple but their wedding date is coming up so we are getting them re-amped about baptism. They are really great and it's fun to teach them and help them have the vision for the temple.
Sunday was good but pretty average. We taught a recent convert's mom and showed the restoration movie. I love it so much! I remember seeing it as a kid and I really feel like that's where my testimony of the restoration started. It had a really good effect and she really likes the idea of it all and committed herself to read and pray to ask if it's all true. Teaching is really a joy for me. It's the highlight of our week when we get to do it.
Wow this is a boring letter I'm so sorry! It was pretty rainy and it's getting colder here. Fall is kind of ending it seems like. Today we played volleyball with the zone and it was way fun. Our zone is awesome now. Everyone is so positive and so dedicated.
I think a spiritual high for me this week was about the restoration. By coincidence towards the front end of the week I read a lot of prophesies about the last days and the work of the restoration and the gathering of the house of Israel etc, and then towards the end of the week got to teach a lot about how it all got started with Joseph's prayer etc. We are so priveleged to have this knowledge. I thought a lot this week about how precious and valuable a testimony is. It really is important to cherish them and nurture them every day. It's a privelege to be a testator of these things, and I know that won't end when my mission does.
Ok I'm trying hard to really involve myself in the work this week! This week should be a good one! I really love your letters and sorry that mine is mas o menos this week! I'm so stoked to talk on Saturday! Good luck Taylor and Brynna with all the wedding stuff! Sorry I'm not there! I love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith is a Mormon missionary in the Chile Concepcion Sur mission, the same mission where his dad served. Although this is Trevor's own mission, he grew up hearing about the beautiful land of Chile and the loving people that inhabit it. These are the letters from his experience there.